How to Study in Germany for Free Tuition – in 7 Steps

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You can study for free for both undergraduate and graduate degrees at public universities in Germany. This is true for international students worldwide.

The only fees required are called “administration fees”, that cost around 100 – 200Euro/year. This fees are dedicated to student services, covering costs for bus tickets to the university, student cafeteria and more.

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If you want to study for free in Germany, we have simplified the steps you need to take in this video.

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1. Choose a University

You can’t study in Germany for free if you don’t have a destination. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) hasa database of almost 17,000 programs available to search from, including 88 programs in English.

  • You should also consider the latest rankings of the top universities in Germany while making your decision, or check the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject to find the top German institutions in your field.
  • When choosing a university and a course you should also make sure the course content suits you.
  • Check the information provided on the official websites of universities you’reconsidering, and get in touch to request more detail if needed.

2. Sort out your finance

In order to fulfill student visa requirements, you will need to show proof that you have, or have access to,around €7,908 per year (US$8,722) or €659 (US$727) per month to cover your living costs, although you may find you need more, depending on your lifestyle and spending habits (the average student spends€800/US$877 a month). If you’re concerned costs, there are scholarships available to support students studying in Germany at various study levels including undergraduate level, despite the tuition itself being free.

3. Start Applying

For most subjects, you can apply directly to the international office of the university. Alternatively, you can use the website, a centralized admissions portal for international students, run by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), although not all universities use this. You may wish to apply for several universities separately to increase your chances of beingadmitted.

Its recommended to submit applications at least six weeks before the deadline, to ensure time for corrections or additions if any information is missing. You should expect to receive a formal acceptance or rejection approximately one totwo months after the deadline has passed.

The specific documents required and application process will be set by each institution, but you will typically be asked to submit:

  • A certified copy of your high-school diploma or previous degrees, and any other relevant qualifications in the original language
  • A translated overview of your course modules and grades
  • A passport photo
  • A copy of your passport (personal information and photo ID page)
  • Proofof language proficiency (a test certificate or equivalent)

Make sure you provide all the documentation requested and check that you’ve filled out all your information correctly before submitting your application. An application fee may be charged.

4. Get a German student visa 

The requirements for obtaining a student visa for Germany depend on your country of origin. You can find an overview of the countries for which a student visa is or isn’t required on the Foreign FederalOffice’s website. You can also find information on how to get, andprepare for a Visa interview on our YouTube channel.

5. Find accommodation 

MostGerman universities do not offer accommodation to enrolling students. Rent is likely to be your biggest monthly expense, and this will vary depending on which part of the country you live in, so sorting out your accommodation early is imperative. When looking for accommodation in Germany, you should consider student residences, shared accommodation or an apartment. An unshared apartment is the most expensive choice, and this will generally cost in the region of €350-400 (US$386-441) a month. Shared accommodation is the most popular form of accommodation and would be cheaper at around €280 (US$309) a month, while student residences are cheaper yet again at around €240 (US$265) a month. Hostels are cheap alternatives if house hunting is proving difficult.

6. Enroll 

Enrolment is the turning point, it is when your status changes from Applicant to Student. Without enrollment, you can’t start your course and use university facilities such as the library. You will also need to re-register before the start of every semester. This usually costs between €150 and €250 (US$165-275), depending on the university. Depending on the university, you may need to enroll in person or simply email or post the necessary documents before a certain deadline.

7. Time to settle in 

Congratulations! you should now be all set to begin your studies in Germany. Don’t forget to pack all the essentials, as well as arrange a few more important affairs.

  • If you haven’t already, once you’ve found accommodation you must register with thelocal registration office of your city. Once registered, you’ll receive adocument confirming your registration at that address, which you can then usefor the next step…
  • Get a student bank account. Most banks offer these for free, and it will make managing your regular payments (such as accommodation) much easier. You should open this account as soon as possible and ensure you have enough money in the meantime.
  • If you’d like to find a part-time job while you study, you can do so if you are a full-time EU or EEA student, with no restrictions on where or when you can work. If you are a full-time student from outside of the EU, you will be limited to working up to 90 days full time or 180 days part-time per year. Upon gaining paid work in Germany you should contact the German employment office to learn about the legal conditions.


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